Dream Carnival brings shame to an anime that does much more than this.

User Rating: 5 | Hagane no Renkinjutsushi: Dream Carnival PS2
Positive
- Cast of the anime is here
- Character in portraits look good in story mode
- Great voice acting

Negative
- Average music
- Mediocre gameplay
- Story is non-sense

Hagane no Renkinjutsushi, the Japanese name for Fullmetal Alchemist is a great anime. This game is not. Dream Carnival is an exclusive Japan only game but seeing the result doesn't make me wonder why, and this was also released before the Broken Angel and Curse of the Crimson Elixir which were released afterwards. Dream Carnival is a mediocre two on two fighting game which lacks too much to appeal to others outside the Fullmetal Alchemist world.

Dream Carnival offers 3 different modes, although none of them is special. Story mode is non-sense, and it doesn't follow the story, even I can't tell and I don't know Japanese. The story takes you through series of 2-on-2 fights with the exception of the final boss which is tough considering the level of other fighters. You don't to choose with to stay with. After a series of fights (they are almost the same for each saga), beat the final boss and get a new character. Simple. Battle mode offers a bit of variety since you can choose your partner, if its team battle etc. There is also a training mode to learn the curves.

The game's limited roster isn't much of a problem since its anime based and Fullmetal Alchemist doesn't involve numerous fighters such as Dragon Ball. Although the main cast is here, from Edward Elric to Roy Mustang, Scar, Winry and others. Some characters are unlockable. The number of skills at each character's disposal is a bit low, limited to strikes, kicks and alchemy; with square, X and O respectively. Each character's style is different. Special attacks lack impact and damage most of all, but for each is unique. Press R2 + O after filling your meter to perform an attack. The AI is a bit dumb and easy with the exception of the final boss which is hard and can deal quite some damage and knock you out.

For each fight, each team has two life bars, one for each character. There are extra bars which one can be used for one character and the other one for the other. If these are gone the fight is over. If not in a team each character has one. The stage design is a bit annoying since not all platforms are at the same height. Also your character doesn't automatically aim at the enemy, and sometimes you might use a special attack facing the other way from the enemy.

Dream Carnival's graphics are merely good. The character models are recognizable instantly, and the design isn't so bad. The environments are decent enough. In the story mode, instead of cutscenes you see the characters in portraits instead of characters. This isn't a bad idea since they are good enough. The music on the other hand isn't very good, but the voice acting make up for it, although you can't go too far bad since it is from the anime. The loading times for battle shows the characters that are going to fight running and jumping the passing loading… title passing.

I haven't played Dream Carnival for very long but it is not a good game. The English released installments are better than this. Fans of the anime looking for other Fullmetal games are likely to play this, but it nothing more than a shallow fighter. I am a fan and I've been looking for other Fullmetal Alchemist games and soon might be getting the 3rd Fullmetal game which wasn't released in Europe. But lack of translated games may be a serious blow for series fans, but some games mustn't get out of Japan.

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Graphics = 6.3
Good character design, with average background design. Character look good in portraits in the story mode, but there is nothing special.

Sound = 6.0
Voice acting gets it right, but the music doesn't.

Presentation = 5.2
No cutscenes, but when loading you see something you don't see every day. Passable production values.

Gameplay = 4.8
Mediocre combat system with dumb and easy AI. Level of challenge is far too easy except for the story's final boss. Character roster is small but enough for the anime.

Story = 3.5
Story sucks and consists of team fights. Too little modes.


OVERALL = 51 / 100
Dream Carnival brings shame to an anime that does much more than this.